JUST TALKING 19-3-2010
Just Talking conclude on Friday, March 19, 2010, at the Excelsior room of the Electra Palace Hotel, as part of the 12th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century. Topics covered were the relationships of the documentary with its audience, difficulties in financing, and the particular nature of documentary films. Participating were the directors Arni Gunnarsson (Kraftur – The Last Ride), Bosse Lindquist (The Genius and the Boys), Henry Singer (The Blood of the Rose), Nati Baratz (Unmistaken Child), Stascha Bader (Rocksteady – The Roots of Reggae), David Kinsella (Killing Girls) and Ingrid Sinclair along with her film’s producer Cristina Lopez-Palao (Africa is a Woman’s Name).
Three African women from different social and professional classes are the subject of Africa is a Woman’s Name. These women talk about the reasons they continue to struggle, their personal stories, as well as the relationship their leadership status has on those around them. The film was made by three Africa women: Ingrid Sinclair, Bridget Pickering and Wanjiru Kinyanjui. Producer Cristina Lopez-Palao noted how important it was that the film be structured through the point of view of the three filmmakers. Then Ingrid Sinclair said: “Most documentaries on Africa show women as weak, most of the time as victims. But there are also other women, who found the strength to resist, who we don’t usually have the chance to get to know”.
Nati Baratz spoke about the subject of his film, Unmistaken Child, which records the search for the reincarnation of Lama Kontsok, the greatest Tibetan meditator of our age. This was a difficult mission assigned to the shy and charismatic student of Lama Kontsok, Tenzin Zopa by the Dalai Lama himself. The director said: “ It took me four and a half years to complete this film about the search of this young Tibetan monk for the reincarnation of his Master”.
The film Rocksteady – The Roots of Reggae takes a musical journey to the golden age of Jamaican music and the stories of its legendary singers and musicians. These artists meet forty years later to make a recording of their old hits, give a live concert at Kingston, Jamaica, and to tell their stories to director Stascha Bader, who said: “this is a film about the reunion of old musicians recording their hits, a hymn to reggae”.
Henry Singer opens a window on Africa, telling the story of the significant life and tragic death of filmmaker and activist Joan Root, in his documentary The Blood of the Rose. “Root tried to save an important water habitat in Kenya, which is however used by the largest flower manufacturer in the country. The film works on many levels, showing Root’s interesting life, as well as looking at Africa during industrialization”, the director said.
Speaking about his film Killing Girls, David Kinsella noted that this is part of a trilogy on the Perestroika generation. The film looks at a clinic in Saint Petersburg which specializes in abortions for advanced pregnancies, and through this he examines the living conditions of Russia’s new generation. A generation which dreams of a shiny western way of life, but is condemned to live chasing money that can buy it a moment’s happiness. The director noted: “More than 20 girls a week go to this clinic. It’s a shocking story, which I tried to tell in an artistic way, so that the audience can watch it”.
Αrni Gunnarsson spoke about the strong relationship between a rider and his horse which is the subject of his film Kraftur – The Last Ride. It’s the story of Icelandic rider Toti and his horse Kraftur. When Toti was invited to take part in the International Icelandic Horse Championship in Holland, he had to leave his horse behind after the games because of the health regulations of his country. The pain of this development overcomes the thrill of victory. “Icelandic laws do not allow the importing of horses, so the rider has to leave his horse behind”, the director said.
Another sensitive and controversial issue is broached in the film The Genius and the Boys, by Bosse Lindquist. The director explained that this is research on the life of the Nobel winning scientist Carleton Gajdusek, who was proven to be a pedophile. “I found it very interesting to look into how such a charismatic person had sexual relationships with children at the same time. What is also interesting is the reaction of the scientific community to this fact, as well as the people who knew him when they were children – these points of view are featured in the film”, the director noted.
The directors then spoke about and exchanged points of view on the difficulties of financing their films, finding an audience and what documentary films are.